Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Long time away, now I'm back

I've been away from the blog for quite a while, but came across it again the other day, and realized I need to start up again. The process of organizing my thoughts and putting them on the page helps me to stay sane, so writing is nearly as therapeutic for me as knitting or crocheting, and I enjoy reading your comments and blogs as well.

After the New Year, I got into knitting much more than crochet. In fact, I didn't work any crochet for several months as I knit on several projects. I have discovered there are some things I like knit, and other things I like crocheted and very few that cross over. I have picked up the crocheting again recently, and have been selectively choosing what I might make with each art.

Looking back, I realize just how much "start-itis" I have, and how little "finish-itis". I have begun many projects; but I have finished very few. However, I have learned much and hope to pick up some of the hibernating items and finish them, as well as complete what I have begun recently.

What's been on my hook and needles? LOTS! What's done? Well, not so much, and I'm feeling sort of "sheepish" about it. (Get it? Sheep, wool, yarn… I know, bad pun) Anyway, here's a list of what I have worked on and a few photos of those projects.

1. A sweater for my DH: 
a) Started as a Men’s Hooded Cardigan in tunisian crochet, using Red Heart Super Saver. After putting it aside several times, I realized I was not enjoying the technique, due to the time-consuming nature. I was using a 3mm tunisian hook for worsted weight acrylic in order to get gauge, and I was not happy. FROGGED!
b) Tried a knit pattern with the same yarn. I had received the Knit Picks Zephyr Acrylic Interchangeable Needle Set for Christmas, and was eager to try them out. Oh, did they ever squeak with the Red Heart! EWWW! Put away that yarn for smaller projects or donation.
c) Ordered Knit Picks Shine Worsted in Mallard and began knitting the Classic Raglan Cardigan from Barbara Walker's Knitting from the Top (awesome book, by the way), using the cable charts from the Lion Brand Pattern Inishturk Sweater & Tam, spent lots of time figuring out how the raglan area would grow with the cable patterns. I had stitch markers for each of the 5 cable patterns, plus increases and seed stitch and so on; people were amazed at all the markers on my knitting needles. I got frustrated with all the patterning and decided to FROG and start again simpler.
d) So, currently I'm working the Seamless Set-in Sleeve Sweater from the same book, using just a couple of cables down the front of the cardigan. This is going much better, but I haven't worked on it for a while. Maybe I'll get it done for Christmas.

2. Socks for me, DD, DH, me, etc.
a) I frogged the first pair I blogged about, then, in teaching a very nice young lady how to knit socks, I gave her the yarn. My gauge was very loose, and I didn’t like how they felt, so I thought to start over with a nicer yarn. The young lady was very happy to receive my gift, and I was happy to give it to her.
b) I started several pairs of socks over the next few months, not getting very far before deciding to start something else. I used everything from Hobby Lobby’s “Walk Away” sock yarn to Red Heart’s “Heart & Sole”, to Knit One, Crochet Too’s “Ty-Dy Sock” to Knit One, Crochet Too’s “Crock-O-Dye” (wool, nylon and silk, yummy). I have now purchased sock yarn in almost every color and fiber, buying with a particular person in mind for most of them, but not really getting any made.
c) HOWEVER, I did manage to finish a pair of socks for DD with Red Heart’s “Heart & Sole” Spring Stripe while recovering from surgery to correct a deviated septum. This pair, start to finish, took me five days to complete. She wore them to a friend’s home for a weekend sleepover, and I haven’t seen them since (though she swears she has, and that they are just hiding somewhere in our house, which is possible, considering there are clothes laying around in just about every room in our house, and DH won’t match up socks, so they sit unmatched in a laundry basket until someone digs out a pair to wear. That’s what I love about my husband doing the housework, nothing is predictable, lol!)
d) Also, I made a pair for myself using Panda Silk by Crystal Palace Yarns in 5110 Deep Sea. I used Wendy Johnson’s Gusset Heel Basic Socks. They are a little slouchy, which I was told by an experienced knitter, is probably due to the bamboo.
e) I started a pair for myself with Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Summer Blooms. This pair is from a book called Teach Yourself Visually: Sock Knitting and is called “Toe Up Cables Galore”. I used a short-row heel and really enjoy the fit. All I have left is to finish the leg, but I needed the needle I was using for something else (I forget what), and they are sitting in my craft room, waiting to be picked up again.
f) DH said he would like a pair of socks. What color? “Anything is fine.” “Really, how about pink?” “No, not pink, but anything else.” “Rainbow?” “Sure.” “Okay”
Zitron Trekking (XXL) has a lovely self-striping rainbow colored yarn. The colorway is 135 Circus. I purchased two skeins because we were at the lake with no ball winder to make two balls, I wanted the socks to have matching stripes, and I might make myself a pair as well. So, I have completed the foot, and they are waiting for a heel and leg to be added. These are sitting in a zippered bag next to my chair, not my immediate priority, but up there.

3) Sock Class
Last spring I agreed to teach a sock-knitting class this fall for community education in my little town. It’s going to be my version of two-at-a-time toe-up socks, using Magic Loop Knitting, Judy Becker’s Magic Cast On, a short-row heel, and 1x1 ribbed cuffs. We will do stockinette on the foot and leg. Along the way, I will discuss various sock knitting books, patterns, and techniques, including lace, cables, and colorwork which lend themselves very well to sock knitting.
Therefore, I have a lot of planning to do, as well as knitting up a pair of sample socks. I am using Hobby Lobby’s “I Love This Yarn” in a purple solid on the toe, heel, and cuff, and a multi on the foot and leg.

4) Baby gifts
The barista where we knit on Thursdays had a baby boy on 8/16/10. Four weeks in advance, we decided to make gifts for her. We thought she was having a boy, so I began a project in blue; a sweater to begin with, and plans to add a hat and booties and pants from Knit & Crochet Style 2/10, Baby, using Red Heart Soft Baby. Really cute pattern, loved it, got close to done, found out she didn’t know the gender(!), so decided to make something with a lovely multicolored dk soft acrylic, Yarn Bee Baby Bee Sweet Delight in crayon colors. I haven’t yet finished it, but found out two weeks ago that she did indeed have a boy, so now I can choose which to finish, but need to keep it simple because she will be back in the next couple weeks and we plan to give her our gifts when she comes back. I don’t have a lot of time to work on it, though, because of my sock class.

5) Shawl for Mom

6) Shawl for Me
I have wanted to try lace weight for a while now, so I have some Misti Alpaca Hand-Paint Lace, and I am going to try it with Pimpinella. Working with lace takes some practice, so I have only done a little bit.

A couple years ago, I ran across this pattern in Crochet World, August 2008. There is a dress for an 18” doll, the pattern for the teddies, and a tea set. The whole set was called Teddy Bear Picnic. I started the dress, but realizing just how time-consuming thread crochet is, I set it aside. Lately I picked it up again at DD’s request, as she wants the bears and tea set. So, I got it out and finished one of the the bears and its dress and hat. Then, DH asked to have one in black with a gold tie for his office (he’s a band director at a nearby high school, and their colors are black and gold). I made that for him, but instead of a tie, I made a scarf; it was easier.

I could probably come up with a lot more projects I have started and set aside, but I think I’ve been wordy enough for one post. Happy knitting/crocheting!

Remember, it is better to love than to be right.

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